Pardon me there’s a Zebra in the garden
Above: The Royal Livingstone Victoria Falls Zambia Hotel. Below right Edward Minyoyi.
Zambia is a country of vibrant African traditions, a land made famous by explorer Sir David Livingstone, the home of Victoria Falls, the Zambezi River and vast national parks thriving with wildlife.
Bringing to life these cultural and natural treasures, Edward Minyoyi is much more than the Guest Relations Officer at the Royal Livingstone Victoria Falls Zambia Hotel By Anantara.With his insider local knowledge and personal tales, Edward plunges guests into the colours, customs and majesty of Zambia through the art of storytelling.
In a country where tribal stories and traditional practices are passed down from one generation to another, storytelling is an intrinsic part of Zambian daily life, and Edward is a proud narrator.
He joined the hotel team in 2001 as a barman and in 2007 was appointed Guest Relations Officer, and also the hotel’s Storyteller. Edward speaks French, Spanish, Russian, Greek, German, Japanese and Afrikaans, and he loves nothing better than meeting world travellers and drawing them into the rich details of his homeland.
Instantly recognisable by his bright traditional attire, theatrical personality and beaming smile, Edward is a member of the Lozi tribe and can be found dressed in his tribe’s ceremonial Siziba costume of a white shirt, skirt, long stockings and red beret. Exemplifying the warm hearted, friendly spirit of the Zambian people, Edward describes, “We live a peaceful, harmonious life, all working together within our communities, and I love to explain how our way of life continues to thrive. For instance when it comes to a wedding, the families of the bride and groom sit down together and discuss issues relating to their children and respective families, to ensure a prosperous marriage and to live as one big happy family.”
“I love my job because I’m a jovial person and really enjoy interacting with people from all walks of life”, enthuses Edward. “Zambia has such a rich history, a diverse tribal heritage and many natural wonders that locals have their own stories about. It’s my pleasure to take guests on a storytelling journey at a hotel where they can see, taste and feel it all for themselves.”
At the only hotel that directly overlooks Victoria Falls, the Royal Livingstone Hotel by Anantara offers a perfect setting to learn about this Natural World Wonder. Known to locals as “Mosi-oa-Tunya” – “The Smoke that Thunders”, this waterfall is awash with myth and legend.
“The Toka-leya people who once resided here worshipped the River Goddess Nyami-nyami living under the falls in times of drought, to pray for heavy rains,” explains Edward. “And my guests’ eyes light up as they hear about the travelling Scotsman, David Livingstone, who arrived in Africa in 1840 as a missionary and physician to become the most famous explorer of the century. He was the first European to witness the waterfall and renamed it after his British Queen, Victoria. His escapades feel even more exciting in the resort’s Royal Livingstone Lounge, sipping drinks and swapping stories surrounded by his paintings, books and maps.”
The adventures continue up and close and personal with zebras, impalas, giraffes and monkeys meandering freely about the resort grounds. Inspiring guests with safari and hunting tales, Edward raves about Zambia’s wildlife. “We have 19 national parks and I have many memories about the animals I’ve encountered, from rhinos, elephants, hippos, wilder beast and warthogs, to the incredible number of birds. For those who prefer more peaceful viewing, guests can relax on platforms on the bank of the Zambezi to drink in the sights and sounds of river life, with me as their narrator. As a keen fisherman, I can pass on my knowledge to anglers, like how it’s easier to catch fish during hot season because they come to the surface, the best spots to test their skills against the tiger fish, and how we cook the prize catches for our families.”
For food enthusiasts, Edward dishes up a plethora of fascinating facts about Zambian cuisine. “Guests can tour the resort’s garden for an introduction to the aromas, flavours and medicinal benefits of different herbs, which are also used to treat sickness, such as a herbal steam to cool and relax the body. The stories they hear then come to life as they try traditional Zambian dishes, or head off to the spa to discover local wellness secrets.”